Part of the ‘queen’s necklace’ trio hugging a 200-acre golf course that includes the DLF Aralias and DLF Magnolias, DLF Camellias at the posh DLF 5 Golf Links in Gurugram has created an entire eco-system for luxury living. “We aim to be an independent identity that would thrive on its own,” says Aakash Ohri, senior executive director, DLF Home Developers Ltd. The Camellias — at 38-floors high, the tallest buildings ever made by DLF — is the only residential property to feature a 1,60,000-sq.-ft. clubhouse built by six world ‘grand masters’ — Hafeez Contractor, renowned architect; Shawn Sullivan, partner and studio leader, US-based Rockwell Group, an architecture and design firm; Gerdo Aquino, co-CEO, SWA Group, Los Angeles-based landscape architecture planning and urban design firm; Jay Wright, CEO, The Wright Fit, New York-based wellness firm; Arnold Chan, founder, Isometrix Lighting + Design, London-based lighting design firm; Ingo Schweder, GOCO Hospitality Group, founder and CEO, Bangkok-based hospitality management and consultancy company.
Set within a private bubble, a city within a city that has a strong sustain - able plan and infrastructure — from uninterrupted roads and underpasses, a sewage plant, and a fire station, the DLF Camellias is one the most valuable properties in India. Launched in 2014 at ₹22,000 per sq ft, it now sells at 40,000 per sq ft. “For us, it’s not a pipe dream, but a journey that’s over a decade old — one that we’ve lived through, and planned, so that it became a reality,” says Ohri.
In 2008, the closest competitor to the DLF Golf Links’ first project, the Aralias, was The Laburnum residential complex at sector 42 in Gurugram, a ready-to-move-in property at ₹60 lakh per unit. The value of the Aralias went up from ₹2,000 per sq. ft. to ₹35,000 per sq. ft. in 10 years, followed by the Magnolias, which would see a similar escalation from ₹4,500 per sq. ft. to ₹28,000-30,000 per sq. ft. “While the prices of both the Aralias and the Magnolias have been going up, the Camellias have weathered the biggest storms,” says Ohri.
The concept of the clubhouse, designed by six ‘grand masters’, has seven zones, including relaxation, energy, healing, and wellness zones. “The Clubhouse with all its amenities — is part of the entire package. Abroad, you have iconic residential facilities in Beverly Hills, Manhattan, and Hong Kong, but India never had that. We have created something where we are getting rave reviews from business leaders, CEOs, and film stars,” says Ohri. With 80% of the apartments sold, DLF is looking at a turnover of ₹12,000 crore.
So, what makes this piece of real estate so golden? Ultimately it comes down to the perfect environment. The 1,000-acre forest of the Aravallis extends from the DLF Golf and Country Club and turns different shades of green depending on the season.
Also, the green ‘lung’ that surrounds the DLF Golf Links is sustained by recycled water from a treatment plant that churns out 14 million litres of water a day. The artificial lakes on the course hold eight million litres of water. Enclosed within 19 acres of the grand Golf Links, the nine towers of the Camellias buildings (with 429 units; one unit per floor) are LEEDS Platinum certified, and as they sit in a seismic zone, they have been designed by a Boston-based architect whose expertise lies in tall buildings. Connected by stone bridges and vibrant plant life, there is also is a 6.8-hectare landscaped park christened ‘The Sanctuary’, with a two-km walking track, and a Sculpture Garden with installations by some of India’s biggest artists.
The Camellias Residences (the starting price per unit is approximately ₹30 crore) are divided into four categories — Classic, Signature, Imperial, and Presidential — ranging from 7,350 sq. ft. to 16,290 sq. ft. It includes 12 penthouses of approximately 13,000 sq. ft., and two penthouses of 16,290 sq. ft. With their extra-high ceilings of 12 ft. and column-free design, each apartment is an architect’s dream. The flat-slab design structure means you can create various room options within each apartment. For interior spends, with marble, stone, wood materials (and architects) from all over the world creating individualised spaces, ₹2-3 crore is a given.
The elevator from the art-filled main lobby opens to the private elevator lobby. Each apartment has a gently curved terrace that looks down on the Water Garden below.
Embracing the Water Garden, sits the pièce de résistance, The Camellias Clubhouse, with various zones centred around an ‘energy’ theme, from relaxed to active, with entertainment areas and gourmet culinary offerings. “We got principal architects Rockwell Group from New York City, which is building the $25-billion Hudson Yards residential project in Manhattan,” says Ohri. The spa facilities, which include a salt room, a snow room, therapy and treatment rooms from Ayurvedic to Balinese and Swedish, have been designed by GOCO Hospitality. Not to miss the restaurants, bars, and entertainment areas within the Clubhouse.
Jay Wright of The Wright Fit was called in to create the fitness centre at The Camellias’ Clubhouse, which has unusual offerings, from a boxing ring, to a rock-climbing wall and apparatus, to a state-of-the-art gym area, yoga and pilates studios, to an all-season, temperature-controlled 25-metre indoor pool. There are also multiple pools outside, squash courts, a bowling alley, and tennis courts. (The Wright Fit are the people behind the spa at the new 60s-themed luxury TWA Hotel at JFK Airport in New York City.) The lighting at the Clubhouse was conceived by Arnold Chan of Isometrix Lighting + Design (the master behind the Philippe Starck hotels in Europe), and the landscaping — with nooks and crannies like a vegetable farm — is the work of Gerdo Aquino of the SWA Group (who’s worked on the Burj Khalifa). They worked closely with Hafeez Contractor, the principal architect of The Camellias.
And while there will be luxury retail (details haven’t been disclosed), The Camellias aim to create a Notting Hill-esque or Park Avenue-like ambience, with everything on hand available inside the ‘promenade’ area linking the towers. “Being green also means being conscious of the construction, the carbon footprint, the sustainability — we plugged every loophole,” says Ohri. Around 25,000 trees make up the golf course.